Author: Christiana Ijeoma Ajaps | Published on 1 March 2024


Question: How do you promote gender inclusive education in my classroom?

Answer: By making small changes to your classroom, language, resources, and the way you interact with your learners.

Here are some tips/ideas on how to encourage and improve inclusive gender participation:

  • Demystify gender stereotypes/biases by discussing the myth of gender stereotypes, how they are baseless and unfounded. Let the learners know that anyone can aspire to become great in any profession of their choice because gender has nothing to do with it. Discuss how collaboration in class between genders can create a conducive learning atmosphere/environment for all.
  • Create an inclusive learning environment by putting students in mixed groups (boys and girls) for inclusive participation. 
  • Create a safe space for diverse opinions and perspectives by encouraging everyone to air their views without being criticised even when they are uninformed. Give constructive criticism/feedback.
  • Use gender responsive teaching/learning methodologies that ensure all students feel valued and respected by using encouraging words even when they have made a mistake. For instance, if a learner, gives ‘hostess’ as the answer to the question ‘Name someone who helps the passengers on a plane’ do not criticise. Instead, praise the answer, but prompt a more gender inclusive answer, such as ‘flight attendant’.  
  • Ensure to distribute questions and praise evenly without bias: Ask a question then look around before calling on a student by name to respond. Make sure you do not focus on either male or female. Rather spread your questions to everyone, including those in the front, middle and back rows. Again, no matter what the response is, look for something positive to praise the responder for, use kind and encouraging words to correct all mistakes. 
  • Make your lessons more interactive and engaging, including different topics and activities to spur everyone to action. Bear in mind that some topics/activities are seen or assumed to be gender specific. For example sports and politics, etc. are usually seen as male, while topics such as shopping, fashion and cooking are seen as female. Endeavour to bring up female football clubs/teams and players whenever you teach football, and bring up men, who are into fashion, great chefs who are men, etc. This helps to create a balance in class participation. 
  • To bring about inclusive participation of all genders, make deliberate and conscious effort to encourage girls to be expressive, to break out of their shell and be active and outspoken – let them express their feelings and opinions without fear or favour.
  • Review teaching materials beforehand and ensure to adapt materials that include gender bias and stereotypes in the language, content and images by making them more inclusive.  For instance, if the material has pictures/images of heroes (males), create a balance by bringing up heroines (females), who have equally contributed to the development of society.  Again, you can bring pictures of women in so-called male dominated professions, such as medical doctors, astronauts, pilots, engineers, and men in so-called female profession. Such a nursing, caregiving etc. Put emphasis on the fact that anybody, irrespective of gender, can aspire to become anything in life. There are, basically, no gender exclusive professions.
  • Pay attention to how you interact with the learners. For example, ensure you praise equally, distribute your praise in a way that is not one sided. Be sensitive and praise boys and girls equally.  Also, ensure you call on boys and girls equally to respond to questions. First, ask a question and look around before calling on the person who always puts their hand up first. This can ensure gender balance.